Zepol Corp., the trade intelligence company, reports that U.S. import shipment volume for May, measured in TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units), increased 9.27% from April and 8.76% from May of 2010. The total number of shipments also increased 9.35% from April and more than 9% from May of 2010. Year to date, total TEUs are up 7.9% this year over last year.

Shipments departing from ports in Asia continued to push upwards, showing an increase of almost 12% from April. According to Zepol, much of this can be attributed to a rise in imports from China. Japan posted a 2.43% decrease in shipments in May due to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in March. Europe increased shipments nearly 7% from April. Central America recorded a shipment decrease of almost 5%.

Ports in the Pacific region of the U.S. showed an increase in the number of incoming shipments, particularly in California, which increased nearly 13% in May. Within California, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach exhibited a 14.18% and 11.34% increase in shipments, respectively from April.

Zepol’s data is derived from Bills of Lading entered into the Automated Manifest System. This information represents the number of House manifests entered by importers of waterborne containerized goods. This is the earliest indicator for trade data available for the previous month’s import activity. The data excludes shipments from empty containers, excludes shipments labeled as freight remaining on board, and may contain other data anomalies.